Venture capital company 3i has announced it has sold UK chilled pizza company Stateside Foods to one of the largest European frozen pizza makers, Germany’s Freiberger, for an undisclosed sum.

Stateside Foods makes chilled topped pizza and pizza components including baked and frozen pizza bases and dough balls. The business operates from three sites in Westhoughton (Bolton), Skelmersdale and Haslingden.

In the early 1990’s 3i backed the management team in a buy-out of North West-based Stateside Foods from Lion Foods. The venture capital company said it provided £2m (US$3.2m) growth capital in 1999 to help fund the purchase of Skelmersdale-based Tolona Pizza from McCain. Stateside Foods has grown since then from an annual turnover of £15m and is expected to achieve a turnover of £50m this year.

Freiberger is a subsidiary of Sudzucker, the German sugar giant. This acquisition will expand its presence in the UK market with its first manufacturing facility there.

Stateside Foods, which employs 750 people, is to continue under the current management team.